We have not withheld our admiration for The Fox Sisters as both innovators and debunkers in the past.
True, both Katie and Maggie Fox recanted their recantation of Spiritualism before they died but for a brief, shining moment, they did the right thing.
On the way to the right path, they developed a whole new industry catering to those in sorrow and doubt. Through their single-handed innovation of the modern seance, they struck gold figuratively and literally in the fearful psyche of the common man or woman.
The three sisters established the ground rules for all who would claim skills in Spiritualism; darkened room, physical contact with the medium, coded responses from beyond, and even physical manifestation of a passed loved-one’s body in part or in whole.
As we head into the Seance Season, it is proper to recall that the three girls from New York who began the practice also sought to end by complete exposure of their methods and motivations. But it was too late, common wisdom had already accepted the principles and ritual behind Spiritualism. Even complete exposure of the methods used to dupe those who now held fast to their conviction that it was real, was insufficient.
Victor Hugo wrote, “An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come.”
Apparently that was true whether the idea is based in fact or fiction.
Ironically, Maggie, Katie and Leah never produced ectoplasm in their seances. Like another innovator, Vanilla Ice, they were all about the rapping. (Although Katie did perform some full-body materialzations later in her career).
While she later recanted her recantation, it is a sombering experience to hear the side of the woman (along with her younger sister, Katie, and older sister, Leah) started Spiritualism and all that it produced.
We are easily distracted from one obsession to another.
We don’t just flit from shiny thing to more shiny thing. Nay, we focus on some topic — usually obscure and without any real-world value to anyone — and intensify our focus until there is no other stimuli within our view.
That is a good thing for our other profession, proof reading M&Ms, but can be disconcerting for just about every other aspect of our world.
We noticed yesterday that we had not updated Inside Magic with a new story or article since last week. What were we doing? How could this happen?
We fell hopelessly in love with a dead woman, Maggie Fox Kane of the famous or infamous Fox Sisters.
We’ll provide our complete review of two recent books on Maggie and her medium sisters, Katie and Leah, later today.